Brake Caliper Not Releasing – Causes, Symptoms & Solutions

What makes the brake caliper not releasing on your vehicle? Unavailability of enough hydraulic fluid in the braking system is the leading cause of the issue, which is also associated with other reasons.

The problem typically happens when you drive your car in bumpy conditions for a long time. Also, driving a car at a higher speed is another cause of frozen brake caliper requiring more hydraulic fluid than regular speed.

Similarly, many more reasons can cause this trouble. Whatever the causes are, you must fix the problem immediately to avoid unwanted circumstances.

Fortunately, we’ll address and fix the issue, as unlocking a seized brake caliper isn’t much tougher. Moreover, you’ll get some other related topics related to this problem. So, stay tuned!

Why Is The Brake Caliper Not Releasing? How To Fix It?

Apart from leaking and lacking of the brake fluid, damaged brake pads, defective brake caliper, and unexpected air entrance in the brake lines can make the brake master cylinder not releasing pressure on your vehicle.

Let’s learn all possible reasons and their solutions regarding of the old or new caliper not releasing trouble:

Lacking of brake fluidRefill with compatible brake fluid
Damaged brake padsReplace damaged brake pads
Defective brake caliperRepair/replace the brake caliper
Sudden air entrance in the brake linesRemove the air from the brake lines
Rusty brake caliper pistonRepair/replace rusted brake caliper/piston
Leaking Brake FluidRepair/replace leaking brake caliper
Jammed brake caliper pistonRelease the brake caliper piston
Wrongly Calibrated Brake CaliperCalibrate brake caliper correctly

Detailed Discussion On Brake Caliper Not Releasing

After the quick look at the table, we’ll discuss the details about the reasons and how to release brake caliper:

Lacking of brake fluid

The most common reason of brakes not releasing pressure or the brake caliper. We’ve learned from the above discussion that continuous driving and uneven driving condition consume the brake fluid faster.

How To Fix It

Refilling with the compatible brake fluid is the single solution of this issue. Also, you should avoid driving your car restlessly to keep your car aways from this problem.

Damaged Brake Pads

Another common reason that you might have faced already. The ABS brakes not releasing can happen due to damaged brake pads, which can be damaged for bumpy driving conditions. Also, the pads becomes broken over time and come with different driving issues.

How To Fix It

When the brake pads grow older, you must replace them. Besides, you should drive carefully, especially during rough terrain.

Defective Brake Caliper

Are you getting caliper brakes sticking? It may occur for defective brake caliper, and it can lead your car to collisions if you leave the issue unresolved. A seized brake caliper is also responsible for the brake fail problem.

How To Fix It

Replacing the brake caliper is the best solution other than trying to repair.

Unexpected Air In The Brake Lines

Will air in brake lines cause brakes to lock up” is a common question on Google. Yes, they can. Sudden air entrance in the brake lines causes the brake caliper seized. The air compresses the brake lines and freeze the caliper. Moreover, it can leak the brake fluid.

How To Fix It

Removing the air from the brake lines will help you fix the issue. But you may need an expert help if you’re not experienced enough to resolve vehicle problems.

Rusty Brake Caliper Piston

When the brake caliper piston becomes rusted, it can make one back or one front brake locking up. Dirty and low brake fluid are blamable for this issue as they help to accumulate rust on the piston. It makes the vehicle less stoppable or completely out of control, which is a very dangerous driving situation.

How To Fix It

We suggest consulting a professional mechanic to fix the issue instead of doing it yourself. They’d repair or replace the brake caliper or the piston.

Leaking Brake Fluid

Leaking brake fluid causes the brakes seized after sitting overnight and other issues. Usually, it happens if you don’t refill the brake fluid immediately after it goes to lowest level.

How To Fix It

Refilling with the brake fluid can be a temporary fix for stuck brake caliper, but you may need to replace it if you don’t fix it early.

Jammed Brake Caliper Piston

Are you still looking for the answer to the question, “why is my brand new brake caliper sticking?” If all other things are working fine, then jammed brake caliper piston can be the culprit in this case.

How To Fix It

Replace the old brake caliper to fix the issue.

Wrongly Calibrated Brake Caliper

If your car’s brake caliper is calibrated wrongly, it can cause seized brake caliper. Here the sticking brake caliper symptoms include less or not control over the brake when you try it. The issue also can damage the rotors and the brake pads.

How To Fix It

Replacing the brake caliper will fix the trouble.

What Are The Symptoms Of The Brake Caliper Not Working?

You might wonder, “How can I tell if my brake caliper is locked?” Understanding when your car’s brake caliper goes bad isn't tough. Let’s get some symptoms of a damaged or malfunctioning brake caliper:

  • Brake warning light is blinking and uneven worn on the brake pads
  • You’ll get oily patches on its rim inside and outside with dots of leaking fluid.
  • When you brake, you get the vehicle unexpected and abrupt movement.
  • The piston rattles after the brake pedal release.
  • Extremely hot disc with burning smell ( here comes: can a stuck caliper catch fire? Yes, it can.)

How To Replace The Brake Caliper?

Replacing the brake caliper is easy if you’re comfortable repairing tasks with essential tools. Let’s know the steps to replace the brake caliper:

First Step – Lifting The Car & Remove The Tire

Unlock the lug nuts using the lug wrench and lift your car with the help of a jack. Then remove its tire.

Second Step – Remove The Caliper Bolts & The Caliper

Remove the bolts the hold the caliper mount using the tool. After removing the bolts, carefully remove the caliper from the brake rotor.

Third Step – Replacing The Old Caliper With New One

You’ve removed the old caliper from its rotor. It’s time to install the new caliper on the same place. Reverse the mounting process with the bolts the same way you removed them.

Fourth Step – Reinstall The Tire & Test The Brake

Reinstall the tire at its previous position with lug nuts and lower your car off its jack. Remove the air from the brake system using a brake bleeding kit, and finally, test the brake to see whether it’s working properly.

Frequently Asked Questions – FAQs

Does A Caliper Release Itself?

The brake calipers can’t be released themselves as they come with fixed blade or jaw. They constantly calibrate an object's length, thickness, width, and other dimensions.

Why Doesn’t My Car’s Front Brake Calipers Release?

Leaking and lacking brake fluid, damaged brake pads, and defective brake caliper are the main reasons the front brake won’t release. Also, it may happen for rusty brake caliper and jammed brake caliper piston.

How Much Does It Cost To Repair A Seized Caliper?

Replacing a seized caliper may cost between $200 and $400. We referred the term ‘replacing’ because you can’t repair a seized caliper in most cases. The cost includes labor and parts. But it can differ depending on the factors, such as location, availability of labor, and part’s brand.

Can I Drive A Car With A Seized Brake Caliper?

Driving a car with a seized brake caliper is extremely risky. The term ‘seized’ indicates the caliper's closed and open position. No matter the reasons for this issue, you must fix it immediately to avoid casualties because when the brake caliper is seized, the vehicle goes out of control.

Can A Master Cylinder Makes Brakes To Freeze?

Yes, the brake caliper can be freeze by a master cylinder. When the master cylinder becomes defective, brake sticking causes the system fixed when it’s in ‘On’ position.  

The Bottom Line

Getting the brake caliper not releasing is a fatal driving issue that requires immediate solution. We’ve referred many reasons that are responsible for the issue.

It matters very little what creates the trouble, but you must resolve it without causing a delay. If you leave the brake with seized caliper, you’re very close to be victim of a collision.

Although we’ve showed how to fix this issue, it’s best to get an expert assistance if you’re not comfortable engouh to perform those repairing tasks yourself.

As most solutions are associated with the replacing the brake caliper, you must have essential tools and practical experience to complete the process. Indeed, consulting with the professional is always recommended when you get anything wrong with your vehicle.

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